Phillip Schofield pays tribute to Denise Robertson at National Television Awards
Phillip Schofield paid an emotional tribute to Sunderland agony aunt Denise Robertson as This Morning picked up a top award.
The ITV daytime programme won Best Live Magazine Show at the National Television Awards on Wednesday night.
And Phillip, who was joined on stage by co-presenter Holly Willoughby, mentioned Denise, who sadly died last April aged 83 after suffering from pancreatic cancer.
Taking to the stage to accept the award, Phillip said: “We’ll start on a serious note, just to say this time last year we had Denise Robertson on stage with us and we really miss her.
“So this is for Denise this year.”
This Morning broadcasted live from outside Denise’s funeral at Sunderland Minster, with Phillip, Holly, with other presenters Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford also attending.
Sunderland born and bred, Denise remained living in East Boldon despite her success on This Morning, regularly making trips to and from the capital to help comfort viewers and help them with their personal problems.
In mid-February, Denise announced she was taking a break from the daytime show after a shock cancer diagnosis, but said she hoped to be back on the sofa soon.
Just weeks later it was announced she’d lost her short battle while undergoing treatment at Royal Marsden Hospital, London.
Over the years, Denise became one of the city’s most high profile and energetic ambassadors, lending her support to countless regional charities including the Foundation of Light, Bubble Foundation, St Cuthbert’s Hospice, St Benedict’s Hospice, the PDSA and the Carers’ Centre.
She also threw her weight behind ampaigns, such as supporting victims of domestic violence, attempts to save Sunderland High School and the fundraising to make WWI statue Tommy a permanent feature in Seaham, where she once lived.
As well as being a great support to people in need in her role as an agony aunt, Denise was the author of numerous books, plays, magazine and newspaper articles, using her great communications skills to share her ideas and feelings with others.
Some of the greatest honours awarded in recognition of her work include being given an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List and being given Freedom of the City by Sunderland Council in 2006.
In 1998, she was also named as Deputy Lieutenant of County Durham.